Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Research Day 2024

A collage of students and faculty interacting within Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at various events.

We invite students, faculty, alumni and staff to register for the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology's annual Research Day.

  • Get together and celebrate the research accomplishments of the CCB community

  • Learn about emerging AI education, research, and career opportunities

  • Network with students, faculty, external advisors, alumni, and friends

Come join us!

Friday, May 3, 2024 - 10 am to 3 pm
University Center Complex, TechFlex Auditorium

Registration is now closed.


10 a.m.


Coffee and Breakfast provided

10:30-11 a.m.


Opening remarks - Dr. Woo Lee, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Event Overview – Ms. Panagiota Georgoutsos, '24 BS Chemical Biology, Past President SGA

External Advisory Board (EAB) – Dr. Adam Weinglass, Executive Director, Merck

Vision for AI – Dr. Nariman Farvardin, President, Stevens Institute of Technology

11- 11:45 a.m.


Engineered T cell Immunity: A World of Opportunities and Challenges

Introduction Dr. Jean Zu, Lore E. Feiler Dean, School of Engineering & Science

PresenterDr. Michael Milone, Associate Professor of Pathology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Abstract: Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies have transformed over the last two decades from an idea on the fringe of clinical medicine to a cornerstone of therapy for multiple B-cell malignancies including leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Despite its success, many challenges remain to this highly bespoke engineered T cell therapy especially to its applications to solid tumors. This presentation will discuss some of these challenges and novel receptor and cell engineering approaches for improving effectiveness. We will also discuss opportunities for applying engineered T cell therapy to diseases beyond cancer such as autoimmunity.

11:45 a.m.-12 p.m.


Moderator – Ms. Felicia Spadavecchia, Ph.D. Candidate, Chemical Biology

12-1 p.m.


Artificial intelligence is predicted to revolutionize how we work and live. In a fireside chat format, students have the opportunity to engage a panel of leading scientists at the frontier of genomic medicine working in academia and biopharma about their thoughts on AI education, research, and career opportunities.

Introduction - Dr. Kenny Wong, Teaching Associate Professor and Associate Chair for Graduate Studies (Moderator)

Speakers from our External Advisory Board

Dr. Pek Lum, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Auransa

Dr. Oscar Puig, Vice President, Translational Medicine and Diagnostics, Nucleai

Dr. Benjamin Tycko, Co-Director, Institute for Cancer and Infectious Diseases, Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation

1-3 p.m.


- How to network today?: Ms. Sarah Peneiras ‘26, BS Chemical Biology

Maximize your networking potential by engaging with students, faculty, EAB members, guests, and poster presenters. With each interaction, collect a sticker to win exciting prizes!

- Undergraduate Student Research Projects: Dr. Sesha Alluri, Senior Research Coordinator

We are proud to showcase Senior Capstone Research Projects. Senior Capstone Research is the culmination of CCB Research Spine, which provides students with the knowledge, experience, and tools needed to explore transformative scientific ideas for meaningful societal impact. This year’s projects range from drug discovery using AI to cancer research to microplastics to skin care. A panel of distinguished judges will evaluate and select three best posters.

- Graduate Student Research Projects: Dr. Kwahun Lee, Assistant Professor

CCB’s vision is to be a community of researchers with molecular, cellular, and computational minds. To capture this vision, our Ph.D. candidates will present their dissertation research in drug discovery, cancer research, and computational chemistry.

- Pedagogical Innovation Projects: Dr. Patricia Muisener, Teaching Professor and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies

CCB’s mission is to educate students with a broad foundation in chemical and biological sciences. The undergraduate curriculum has been innovated to highlight the department’s distinguishing features: research spine, technology emphasis, and societal context. Faculty will present their pedagogical innovation in the research spine courses as well as biology and chemistry courses.

3 p.m.


About our Speakers

Adam WeinglassAdam Weinglass, Ph.D., Executive Director, Screening & Compound Profiling, Merck & Co

Adam Weinglass has led the Screening & Compound Profiling Department since 2018. He drives the application of cutting-edge capabilities towards the identification and progression of small molecule, cyclic peptide and degrader chemical matter.

Adam has also held positions of Director Automated Ligand Identification Systems (ALIS) & High-throughput Experimentation, Director of Cellular Pharmacology, Research Fellow (Diabetes) and Senior Research Biochemist (Ion Channels) since his hire to Merck in 2004.

Prior to Merck, Adam was a Research Fellow of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of California Los Angeles, where he worked with Drs. Kaback, Faull & Whitelegge to explore the mechanism of action of molecular membrane transporters utilizing biochemical, biophysical & mass spectral approaches.

Adam’s research has resulted in over 40 publications, reviews and U.S. patents. His discovery efforts have contributed towards several clinical candidates, research collaborations and state-of-the-art technologies. Adam received a 1st class BSc in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from the University of Leeds and a PhD from the same Department studying the over expression, purification and characterization of recombinant mammalian sugar transporters.

 Dr. Michael MiloneMichael Milone, M.D./Ph.D., ’93 BS Chemical Biology 

Dr. Milone's research is focused on the development of genetically engineered T cell immunotherapies for the treatment of disease.

He is a co-inventor of tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah), the first US FDA-approved gene therapy that employs T cells genetically modified with a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) targeting CD19 for the treatment of B-cell malignancies.

Dr. Milone is a scientific co-founder of Cabaletta Bio (NASDAQ: CABA) and Verismo Therapeutics.

Pek LumPek Lum, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Auransa

Pek Lum is the co-founder and CEO of Auransa Inc., a computationally-driven pharmaceutical company. She is the chief architect of the science behind Auransa’s technology, combining her deep understanding of genomics and her vast experience in applying data science in the pharmaceutical industry.

Before founding Auransa, Pek was an early employee and vice president of Product and chief data scientist for Ayasdi, a deep tech software company, where she created early business verticals and helped grow the company.

Pek started off her career at Rosetta Inpharmatics, a pioneer in genomics and microarray technology. After Rosetta's acquisition by Merck, Pek continued to champion the integration of data science into biology, contributing to Merck’s development pipeline. Pek did her undergraduate degree as a Monbusho Scholar at Hokkaido University, Japan and received her PhD studying yeast genetics at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her work has been widely published in scientific and medical journals, such as Nature and Cell, and her research has contributed to discoveries in drug development and the understanding of complex diseases.

Oscar PuigOscar Puig, Ph.D., Vice President, Translational Medicine and Diagnostics, Nucleai

Oscar Puig currently holds the position of VP Translational Medicine & Diagnostics at Nucleai, an AI-powered image analysis and biomarker development company.

Prior to joining Nucleai, Oscar held leadership positions at BeiGene, Lilly, BMS, Roche, and Merck, with a focus on biomarkers and diagnostics in oncology clinical development. Oscar Puig holds a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Valencia, Spain, and postdoctoral stages at EMBL, Germany and UC Berkeley, US.

Benjamin TyckoBenjamin Tycko, M.D./Ph.D., Co-Director, Institute for Cancer and Infectious Diseases, Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation

Dr. Benjamin Tycko joined the recently established HMH Center for Discovery & Innovation (CDI), in Nutley NJ, as a founding member in 2018 - moving there after three decades as a faculty member at Columbia.

Starting with pioneering early studies of genomic imprinting in human development and cancer, his lab has formed a focus on genetic-epigenetic interactions, including high-resolution mapping of allele-specific DNA methylation (ASM), followed by functional validations using CRISPR-Cas9, to precisely pinpoint genetic variants that underlie inter-individual differences in susceptibility to a broad range of common human diseases.

Dr. Tycko’s lab has been continuously NIH-funded throughout his career, with his most recent grants, from the NIH and DOD, dealing with genetic-epigenetic mapping and functional assays in multiple myeloma and kidney cancers. At the same time, in collaboration with Dr. Eugene Yu at Roswell Park, his lab is elucidating an important trans-acting genetic-epigenetic interaction, in which a simple chromosomal aneuploidy produces altered DNA methylation patterns across the entire genome. This phenomenon is exemplified by human Down syndrome (trisomy 21), and the mechanistic findings in that syndrome have implications for cancers with other chromosomal and sub-chromosomal aneuploidies.

The long-term goal of all these studies, which have been published in Nature Genetics, the American Journal of Human Genetics, Genome Biology, and other journals, is discovery of genes, genetic variants, and biological pathways that can be targeted for disease treatment and prevention.

Senior Research Projects

Meet the Senior Research Project Teams.

Graduate Research Projects

Meet the Graduate Research Project Teams.